Interrobang experience – Winner of ITC Interrobang?! IIM Indore 2014

It was an interesting experience working for Interrobang. I knew this was a very prestigious competition and there were PPIs at stake. So I was taking this competition very seriously. The team formation happened by chance. I had participated with Sruthi in many competitions and participating in this one with her was an obvious choice. Arjun came up to me and asked me to participate in this competition with him. I had an experience working with him in Career Launcher live project. Sumit came along with Arjun. So we had a fair idea of each other’s strengths. I was convinced that this could be a decent team. We named the team Cookie Monsters, which I though was a bit witty 😉

We had initial difficulty in understanding the case and what they were expecting out of this. So we met up a lot of times just to understand the case. So we structured the case and tried to analyze this piece by piece. Every time we met up, we made notes of what all we discussed and what each of our work was for the day. We tried to meet at least once a day. We also spoke to the last year winners of this competition and took their advice.

We then analyzed the cookie industry using some reports and found out what the major trends and drivers of the growth was. We then studied the major cookie brands in the market and analyzed their offerings and positioning statements. With this we were able to understand what the ticking factors were in each of these brands. Then we put a framework to analyze all the brands that were present so that it became easier to visualize where our brands stood and how we can reposition the existing brands. This framework also helped us in identifying the market gaps.

Now came the hideous market survey. We were wondering how we would go about doing this as it was a new thing to all of us. So we prepared a survey on Qualtrics and rolled out only to our relatives and friends outside of our college and few of the juniors within the college. We had to make sure that this survey didn’t leak out to other PGP 2s’. The survey results were interesting and we were able to do segmenting and identify the market gaps. This turned out to be a lot of fun when we were approaching random strangers in Indore mall and asked them to fill up the survey. There were a lot of interesting answers. I was amazed by how much information we can gather by doing such surveys. This can be put to best use only when we can find a workable solution out of this survey. This was followed by a STP approach which is a standard marketing practice.

Now with all these being done, there was only 3 days left for the submission. We were very worried as many of the other teams were almost wrapping up their submissions, while we were only half done. So we had to really fasten up the process. Through the surveys and interviews, we came up with a NPD idea. This we thought was very cool but we had no idea if this would work. But still we went ahead and put this up. Did some quant for market sizing.

Before we started working on the final submission document, we did a framework of how the solution should be presented and what the structure should be. This was a very graphical representation of our solution. This really helped us to visualize the solution and how our final document was going to look like. Then came the submission date. We were still not sure if we will be able to submit it on time as there was a lot of stuff that was left to do. We stopped worrying and started doing. With 1 minute left for submission, we finally submitted. Ah!!! Relief was in the air.

Some of the things that worked in our favor during this competition were:

– Passion for the competition
– Hard work and smart work. Considering we have the regular PGP course as well, one should be able to balance both and work smart
– Divide and rule. All the members in the team should divide the work wisely and still be aware of what others are doing
– Team formation. It is good to have people with varied skills and make sure all the members are aware of each other’s strengths
– Be a bit crazy. We were asked to leave the mall where we were surveying, as there had to be a lengthy procedure to be done to take a survey in the mall. So what!! We surveyed the people sitting outside the mall. There are always some or the other outcomes to a problem, if you are determined to solve it
– Be creative. Don’t do things what everyone else does. Be a bit off beat
– Talk to seniors and take their mentoring. This really helps
– Play to win. Let’s be honest here, we participated in this competition to win. Not for some sort of an experience 😉
– Keep a lucky grass hopper in the room (only few understand what I mean.)


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